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Your top questions about travel medical insurance answered

What exactly is the kind of protection travel medical insurance provides? In this article, Insurance Business explains how such policies work and what their benefits are by answering the top seven questions American travelers have with this type of coverage.

1. What does travel medical insurance cover?

Travel medical insurance helps cover the cost of emergency medical expenses during a trip. It follows a reimbursement-based model and pays out up to the plan limits. Policies come in two forms – standalone travel medical insurance, which can be purchased separately but often excludes trip interruption and baggage loss coverage, and emergency medical insurance as part of a comprehensive policy, which features a wider range of protection.

Coverage varies between insurance providers but typically includes the following:

  • Emergency medical bills: These include all hospital expenses related to the illness or injury. According to travel insurance marketplace InsureMyTrip, coverage starts at $50,000 and can top $2 million.
  • Emergency dental expenses: Visits to the dentist and other dental procedures may also be covered, with limits ranging from $100 to $500. In some instances, costs can be included in the overall medical expenses.
  • Medical evacuation: Commonly the most expensive bill, this includes the cost to transport a patient to a medical facility. The evacuation, however, must be ordered by a doctor to be covered by insurance. Limits start at $500,000. Some insurers offer unlimited coverage.
  • Accidental death or dismemberment: Policies include coverage for repatriation expenses, usually capped at $50,000.
  • 24-hour emergency assistance: Insurers, through its emergency assistance line, help policyholders find a doctor, especially if a language barrier is hampering medical emergency efforts.
  • Trip interruption: Often included only in comprehensive travel insurance policies, this pays out for costs incurred if a trip is cut short due to an illness
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